As another NBA chapter nears, it’s time for our season previews. Can the Heat pick up where they left off? Expected Conference Ranking: 5th Best Move of the Offseason: Keeping the band together. A team that goes 30-11 over any stretch of a season deserves to be brought back. There is virtually no chance that this team ever wins a championship or even a playoff series. It is cannon fodder for the Cavs and Celtics. This is the rare example of a middle ground between contention and tanking actually making sense. The Heat are so depleted of future assets that a proper tank would be difficult to pull it off. So they’re going to wait out the outgoing draft capital and try to do this properly when Pat Riley retires in a few years. Until then, this team will be entertaining for a few years. There are worse fates. And if the team accidentally develops another star as it did Hassan Whiteside, maybe they’ll stumble into something better. Worst Move of the Offseason: Keeping the band together. Everything above is fun and all, but the ultimate goal is to win the championship. And the Heat are about as far away from that as a team can be right now. It will take them five years just to get back to neutral. They can’t even begin a tank until they have their own picks, which they won’t in perpetuity until after the 2021 draft. If the Heat really wanted to push it, they could have cleared the decks from a salary perspective, tanked away the 2018 season and tried a quickie rebuild with one great rookie and the cap space to bring in a veteran star. But Riley didn’t want to tank and Miami enjoyed its 41-41 season last year. So sure, why not run it back? It’ll only cost the team relevance. Their Offense: Kelly Olynyk can shoot. That’s a neat trick. It might actually help unleash Justise Winslow’s defense now that he can play in passable offensive lineups with enough shooting to cover him. Dion Waiters can shoot too. And after a slow start, he is free to shoot as much as he’d like. This is going to be fun. Kobe Bryant’s 50 shots in a game record is officially on the table. An NBA team is actually willing to build much of its offense around Waiters for the first time, and by golly is he gonna enjoy it.
Why the Miami Heat May Begin Losing Relevance
The Sports Post | Sep 23